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Pribbs
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PostWed Jun 03, 2020 1:19 pm 
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Lennox Mountain is the highest mountain of the North Fork Snoqualmie River drainage, featuring 4 different routes to the summit. We opted for the most scenic but the longest route from the Bear Lakes and Bear Basin to the south.

After the endlessly long and rough drive up the North Fork Road, we set off from Bare Mountain trailhead at 7:30am under mostly sunny skies with increasing high clouds. The crossing of Bear Creek at the waterfall was fun as I remember it. You first walk across a giant wide log at the edge of the waterfall pool, and then have to cross two smaller logs across a swift moving channel, best done by crawling across since the water is too fast to effectively place hiking poles in the water.


At the junction with Bare Mountain trail that goes up to the left, we proceeded straight on a lesser-used trail toward Bear Basin. We crossed an old wooden bridge at another cool waterfall and then entered some snow. We turned to head north up toward Bear Lakes. We were able to cross the creek on a little footbridge made out of metal poles that must've been left over from the mining. The path can be hard to follow through the woods but as we started to get out of the forest we were able to find the path as it headed up more open slopes and talus.


We came to the giant old steam donkey mining machinery, and continued up the talus slopes, marked well with cairns, and picked up the path as it climbed its way steeply up through the cliff bands. The path is loose dirt in places, wet stream bed in places, brushing in places. But it did come to a deep mine shaft that went into the mountainside. This mine shaft cut through some pretty solid rock and was quite stable. I went pretty far in around a corner and came to where it split into two different branches. With much more ground to cover to Lennox, I turned around here to head back outside.


The trail got up past the brushy cliff bands and entered another talus basin. And above that we reached Bear Lake, still mostly frozen over with most of the lake bowl all in snow. With the best most inviting terrain up to the left, we got out our ice axes and headed up snowfields to the northwest to a big obvious saddle, then made a rising traverse northeast, crossing some steep snowfields and hitting the ridge between Peak 5449 and Canoe Peak. Lennox Mountain awaited us on another side, but there was still quite a bit of ground to cover. Clouds continued to move in, now being partly sunny.


We found a good place to drop off the ridge to drop down onto the big snowfield that we had to walk the length of toward Lennox. We ended up dropping 500 feet to 4900 feet before starting to climb steeply up toward the correct gully up to a col on the south ridge of Lennox. The weather was now overcast, but the clouds were high and the views into the heart of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness were stunning. From here it is a matter of preference. You can either stay high on the ridge to the false summit, or wrap around to the right (east) side and up a big gully to the false summit. We opted to stay high on the ridge, having some steep snow or some trees to bash through here and there, but nothing too difficult.


We topped out on the false summit with the frozen Coney Lake below, and an unnamed rocky peak on the other side of the lake. From the false summit it was one more open ridge to the top! But dark rain clouds were moving in up the North Fork Valley pretty fast, and distant surrounding peaks were already getting hit with rain. We summitted at 2:50pm, 7 hr 20 min from the trailhead, as some light rain began to fall.


We only spent 10 minutes before we began to retreat down the ridge. From the false summit, we opted to stay to the east of the ridge, descended a big gully, and traversed the east side of the ridge back to the col we came up. We headed back across the snowy basin as the rain picked up a bit and made the grueling ascent back up to the ridge above Bear Lakes. The rain fortunately stopped for the rest of the return journey as we retraced our route back down through Bear Basin back to the trail. We returned to the cars at 8:10, making for a 12 hr 40 minute day. About 12 miles and 4800 feet of gain.

GPS Track: https://www.gaiagps.com/datasummary/track/b2a5d7db88060e58a4e24ccc19da226133b41d53/?layer=GaiaTopoRasterFeet

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Photos: https://www.facebook.com/PribbernowPhotography
Peakbagger: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/climber.aspx?cid=20593
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neek
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PostWed Jun 03, 2020 1:33 pm 
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Nice, I've taken several approaches, but never that one. Seems like it wouldn't be hard to detour up Canoe with that one. Looks like there are still some serious cornices.
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Pribbs
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PostWed Jun 03, 2020 1:51 pm 
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neek wrote:
Seems like it wouldn't be hard to detour up Canoe with that one

If we had more time and energy. Canoe looks close on a map but when you are there, it is more demanding-looking in person. I will have to return!

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Photos: https://www.facebook.com/PribbernowPhotography
Peakbagger: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/climber.aspx?cid=20593
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Type E
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PostWed Jun 03, 2020 8:03 pm 
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Nice work ! Be wary the ridge to Canoe  has some  very large loose rocks

E

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Bootpathguy
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PostWed Jun 03, 2020 8:46 pm 
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That's a fun route

Thanks for sharing

up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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ree
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PostThu Jun 04, 2020 11:28 am 
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That ridge line between Bear and Lennox is really sweet.

I bet the snow made the climb a bit easier/faster.

Pretty amazing those hearty miners lugged that stuff up there.
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Jimbo
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PostTue Jun 09, 2020 12:23 pm 
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I have yet to see this part of the country. I need to touch that Steam Donkey.

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Bramble_Scramble
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PostTue Jun 09, 2020 5:38 pm 
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Great report of a neat area. I'm super jealous, I've been dreaming of doing this route for a long time. Last year we went searching for a couple of the mines. We got way off course from the campsite and got absolutely soaked. It was foggy too so we didn't see the donkey engine until we headed down the correct route. We could see the ball mill but did have time to go down to it. Next time I'd like to check out the trail that heads south across the creek a little ways after the airplane wreckage.

Buena Vista Mining District- Adit #7
Buena Vista Mining District- Adit #7
Buena Vista Mining District- Adit #6
Buena Vista Mining District- Adit #6
Buena Vista Mining District- donkey engine
Buena Vista Mining District- donkey engine
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Noheaperture
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PostTue Jun 16, 2020 6:37 pm 
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Nice, views! Would love to see coney lake thawed out. Been on my list for a while.
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Steve Erickson
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PostFri Jun 19, 2020 11:03 am 
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Question, I have been up to Lennox and on the way to the summit, looked down into Crystal Basin on my way there. Have you dropped down into those lakes? If so, how were the conditions?
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Lennox Mountain via Bear Lakes 6/2/2020
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